Hong Kong: Another day of upsets as Beng Hee ducks out to Willstrop

November 30, 2012 - 6:42am
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James Willstrop gets in front against Ong Beng Hee, the world’s fastest roast duck salesman. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of www.squashsite.co.uk

Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2012
Wed 28th Nov, Day Four: Round One, Bottom Half

It was another long day at Hong Kong Squash Centre as the quarter-finalists of the Hong Kong Open were decided, with significant upsets in each of the draws – just one in the men’s and three more in the women’s.

PSA World Series $155k Round Two:

[1] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0  Ong Beng Hee (Mas) 11/8, 11/9, 11/7 (68m)
Borja Golan (Esp) 3-1 [8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 11/6, 11/9, 8/11, 11/9 (68m)
[6] Peter Barker (Eng) 3-0 Cameron Pilley (Aus) 13/11, 11/8, 11/8 (65m)
[4] Karim Darwish (Egy) 3-1 Daryl Selby (Eng) 6/11, 11/4, 12/10, 11/6 (65m)

[5] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-1 Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11/7, 11/5, 10/12, 12/10 (61m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier 3-0 Nicolas Mueller 11/4, 11/5, 11/5 (43m)
[7] Amr Shabana 3-2 Tom Richards 10/12, 10/12, 11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (70m)
[2] Nick Matthew 3-0 Steve Coppinger 11/6, 11/6, 11/8 (35m)

WSA World Series $77k Round Two:

[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 Joey Chan (Hkg) 11/5, 11/5, 11/1 (27m)
Kasey Brown (Aus) 3-1 [5] Madeline Perry (Irl) 11/6, 11/8, 13/15, 11/6 (60m)
[3] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)3-1  Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 11/9, 7/11, 14/12, 11/7 (60m)
[8] Natalie Grinham (Ned) 3-1 [Q] Nicolette Fernandes (Guy) 11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 11/7 (49m)

Rachael Grinham (Aus)3-1  [Q] Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 11/4, 10/12, 12/10, 17/15 (65m)
Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 [7] Low Wee Wern (Mas) 5/11, 12/10, 11/3, 9/7 rtd (47m)
[6] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-1 Line Hansen (Den) 12/10, 11/3, 6/11, 11/7 (38m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-2 Joelle King (Nzl) 11/8, 3/11, 11/13, 11/8, 11/7 (62m)


With another ten matches to play on Hong Kong Squash Centre’s showcourt – plus six upstairs – a long opening encounter was the last thing we needed, but a 29-minute opening game between Peter Barker and Cameron Pilley seemed set to dash hopes of adhering to the optimistic schedule.

Barker came from 10/6 down to take that first game 13/11, stayed ahead during the second and pulled back an early deficit to take the third 11/8, becoming the first player to reach the quarter-finals after 65 minutes of play.

Barker’s next opponent will be Egypt’s Karim Darwish, the fourth seed who came from a game down to beat Daryl Selby in … 65 minutes again!

The first women’s quarter-final place was taken by Jenny Duncalf. The English third seed won a tough four-game encounter with in-form Indian Dipika Pallikal, Duncalf’s reaction when taking the third 14/12 to regain the lead proving just how crucial that game was.

Meanwhile on the upstairs court Natalie Grinham – who was expecting to play after her sister, not before, came through a competitive four games against qualifier Nicolette Fernandes, taking seven points in a row to avoid the need for a decider.

Natalie popped downstairs to watch Rachael, ho had an even closer four games with Joshana Chinappa, who upset fourth seed Annie Au yesterday. After the first two games were shared Rachael edged the third 12/10, then fought back from behind in the fourth to get match ball at 10/9. Joshana kept on saving match balls but couldn’t get ahead, Rachael eventually closing it out 17/15.

The time? 65 minutes of course (or two hours late, to put it another way).

Then it was back to the men, and two contrasting matches that had their crowds equally absorbed: Ong Beng Hee lost in straight games to top seed James Willstrop, but the ‘veteran’ Malaysian stole the hearts of the Centre Court crowd with a skilful and spirited performance that earned him a standing ovation at the end.

Meanwhile Borja Golan prevailed over eighth seed Mohamed El Shorbagy in an encounter that was as intense as they come, both players getting animated and anxious. The spaniard took the first two games, then came from a few points behind to snatch the fourth and boy was he delighted.

“When you play someone like that you have to play more than 100%, you have to fight for each point as if it was the last one,” said a delighted Golan.

Two Egyptian winners followed, but Ramy Ashour and Amr Shabana were both sorely tested. Ashour, the 2010 HK champion, came from 6/1 down in the first to take the lead against Saurav Ghosal, eventually winning as the Indian saved a match ball to take the third 12/10 only to let the fourth slip by the same score.

Shabana, champion here from 2005 to 2009, found himself two games down to Tom Richards, 12/10, 12/10. The four-time world champion recovered to take each of the next three games 11/7, much to the annoyance of the Englishman, who had his chances when leading mid-way through the fifth.

By now we were more than three hours behind the admittedly optimistic schedule, and local favourite Joey Chan took to court against Nicol David. Unbeaten in Hong Kong since 2005, the Malaysian world number one was as efficient as ever as she put out the last home player in straight games.

Omneya Abdel Kawy followed up yesterday’s dismissal of second seed Laura Massaro with another upset win, this time over fifth seeded Kiwi Joelle King.

The first two games were shared, but after edging a tense third 13/11 King forged ahead 8/4 in the fourth and looked the likely winner. Seven point in a row from Kawy levelled it though, and the Egyptian quickly established a winning lead in the decider.

Meanwhile Alison Waters was setting up a quarter-final date with Kawy as she beat Line Hansen in four games, and Kasey Brown was creating another upset as she battled past fifth seed Madeline Perry in four games to set up a meeting with David.

That left the final two men’s matches, still over three hours past their scheduled time.

Third seeded Frenchman Gregory Gaultier wasted little time in despatching young Swiss Nicolas Mueller in straight games – at 42 minutes the quickest men’s match of the day by some margin and a useful energy saver for tomorrow’s meeting with Ashour in a repeat of their 2010 final.

Nick Matthew was even faster, wrapping up his match with Steve Coppinger in just 35 minutes as he went through to another match against Amr Shabana.

It all starts at 14.00 on Friday, all on Centre Court.

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